A tale of two realities… Editorial by Ruralinfo.net

I am sure we have all heard of the USPS posting an 8.5 billion dollar loss for 2010. This number just jumps off the page at you doesn’t it? 8.5 billion dollars? How in the world can the USPS survive something like this? This kind of number could make postal employees really wonder about the future of their employer.. and their own livelihoods.
Doom and gloom, headline after headline. Words and phrases like dire straits, bankruptcy, running out of money, can’t sustain the losses are every other headline when you read the news these days. If we believe the news, the USPS will not have enough operating cash to keep going beyond October of next year. It is enough to make you wonder if you should be looking for another job.. Postal employees and the public have heard this barrage of doom and gloom news from the USPS for a while now.
Not to mention that all of this doom and gloom serves to promote the notion that the problem with the USPS is the unions. Yes, those overpaid lazy postal workers are the problem. They are sooooooo overpaid that the USPS just cant support them anymore. And do not think that this isn’t exactly what the USPS wants everyone to think. That the craft workers of the USPS are the reason the USPS is going broke.
But wait, in the same week we get hit with this shocking news. The retiring PMG’s retirement package will hit 5.5 million??? And we have some Executive VP’s getting some kind of retention bonus? What are we to think of this news? It makes us scratch our heads and wonder if we are in as bad of shape as they say? Certainly, if the USPS were about to run out of operating cash they surely would not be dishing out this kind of money to their executive officers would they? It is enough to make your head spin and ask what the hell is going on isn’t it?
I have seen headline after headline about how the unions are breaking the USPS, but only a few speaking out against these bonuses and payouts while we are losing 8.5 billion. Realistically, we cant put all the blame on Potter and gang. The USPS Board of Governors is the body that gave them these perks. Of course Potter and Donahoe are both members of that board, but there are 8 other votes on that board that seem to go along with Potter and gang’s way of seeing things. And the 2010 financial report has glowing praise for the PMG and the rest of the Executives.
Of course there will always be some “consultant” that will tell us that the USPS executives are underpaid compared to the private sector. Funny how these so called “consultants” always think the executives are underpaid, and the labor is over paid..
While most of us know that USPS Executives and the craft workers all work for the same organization, the reality is that we live in two totally separate realities. I am smart enough to know that a huge organization like this has to have a pay and benefit package that will attract executives to run it, but I also believe when the losses are so massive year after year, that the executives should also feel the brunt of the losses.
So, if we have lost 8.5 billion and there is a huge list of mismanagement and money losing “projects”, is it really the best thing to give bonuses and incentives?
They are getting big bonuses, salaries and pay outs in a time they are seeking to reduce delivery days, close post offices, and asking for postage increases. No matter where you are standing, from postal employee to customer, this has got to look like a huge case of crying wolf. Not to dismiss that there are legislative changes that the USPS needs, like to fix the retiree health benefit funding, but to take this kind of cash out of an organization that supposedly will not have cash to operate by the third quarter of next year makes their cries of doom and gloom look a little bit ingenuous. Lets not forget that the doom and gloom does always get louder when any of the crafts go into contract negotiations.
The USPS wants to blame all of our woes on lost volume and the internet, overpaid craft workers while ignoring mismanagement and corruption.
I sometimes feel like I must be living in a different reality. I see corruption, malfeasance, gluttony, greed, and so many more greedy actions coming out of the USPS and it seems no one seems to notice, that is of course, besides those of that work in this organization.. Congress doesn’t see it, the BOG doesn’t see it, the PRC doesn’t see it, the mailers don’t see it, and I am not even sure the unions see it.. I hear all of the organizations and bodies that COULD stop the USPS mismanagement but they continue to praise them for the great job they have done. Retention bonuses, incentive bonuses, pay for performance, deferred compensation, supplemental non qualified deferred compensation, blah blah blah…
And we have the Bernstock affair, the Jaffer affair, the credit card abuse, former executives leaving the USPS and being hired back as “consultants” at double the salary, giving no bid contracts to their friends, racking up millions in OSHA violations across the country, not to mention the millions they spend every year on contract violations. Think of the money they could save if they would just follow the contracts..
With all of the mismanagement above, is there seriously a need for retention incentives? I mean these are the same executives that presided over the 8.5 billion dollar loss, along with just a few examples of mismanagement and corruption I listed above. Do we really need them all to stay and return another year? And, do we really need to pay them a bonus to stay? It is a mind blower isn’t it?
I do believe the crafts and USPS Headquarters live in two very different realities. Their reality is to maintain their standard of living no matter the financial state of the USPS. Our reality is the USPS seeking legislation to have our standard of living determined by the USPS financial losses.
I feel like we are on the Titanic headed straight for the iceberg. Only their reality is that there is only room in the life boats for them. Our reality is that we are the ones locked in the Orlop underneath while the ship goes down.
The only problem with that is when they do get rescued and brought back to safety on the shore, there will no one left to move the mail.
As long as the separated reality continues in this organization there will be no fix. In order for USPS Headquarters to expect the crafts to sacrifice for the sake of the service, they have to be willing to sacrifice also. There is no other way it can work. The USPS must realize that their employees want this organization to survive for the good of us all, but they too must make sacrifices. This culture of corruption and greed at the top of this organization will not keep it alive, it will only help to facilitate its demise. Stop looking at your employees as numbers and start treating them like people. Take the first step off that pedestal at L’Enfant plaza and you will have your “greatest asset” waiting to take that step with you. Until then, the iceberg grows closer in our tale of two realities.